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Brazil police want court OK to question Lula on Petrobras

September 13, 2015

BRASÍLIA, Brazil — Brazilian police have asked the Supreme Court for permission to question former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who they say may have benefited from the corruption scandal roiling state oil giant Petrobras.

The Supreme Court, which handles all cases involving federal politicians, is mired deep in the fallout from the Petrobras kickback and political payoff scandal that cost the company more than $2 billion in 2014.

“In his capacity as chief executive of the country,” Lula “could have benefited from the scheme at Petrobras, obtaining benefits for himself, his Workers’ Party, or even his government, under the support of his party base which was supported by illegal business,” the police said in their request to the Supreme Court Thursday.

When asked by reporters about the matter, Lula — currently in Argentina — said he had not yet been told about it.

“I do not know how it was communicated to you and I have not been informed,” he said, according to a video on O Globo‘s news website.

No concrete proof

Lula’s name has been mentioned in the testimony of some defendants in exchange for a reduction of their sentencing, but they also said there was no proof of the ex-president’s involvement.

Those collaborating with prosecutors “do not have concrete proof of president Lula’s direct participation,” the document said.

Some of Brazil’s most senior government officials and private sector executives, as well as a growing list of political figures, are among the dozens already tainted by the growing scandal.

A former top aide to Lula was charged last Friday along with the former treasurer of the ruling Workers’ Party.

Their arrests brought the investigation closer to Lula and his successor, President Dilma Rousseff, who was chairwoman of Petrobras during the main period of the corruption scheme but who has not been accused of involvement.

Read more coverage of Brazil and the Petrobras scandal

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